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The Hand of Providence

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
May 26, 2022 8:00 am

The Hand of Providence

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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May 26, 2022 8:00 am

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You know, when children are small, parents will identify with this. They are noisy, they're embunctious. To mom particularly, they can be exhausting.

And if she can sit down and get a peace of mind, and the kids get quiet, you can be sure, 99 out of 100, when kids are quiet and silent, they're up to no good. But listen, it is not so with God. When God is silent, He is working for you. He's working on your behalf. He's letting things work out for your good, for your best, for His glory, and for His purpose in your life.

Just about everyone has experienced seasons when prayers are loud, but answers are silent. Welcome to Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. Today, get encouragement from the life of Paul for the times when you feel alone and distant from God. Dr. Youssef continues his look into the book of Acts today in chapter 22, seeing how God is moving, even when things seem to be at a standstill, in fact, especially during those times. It's encouragement from Dr. Youssef for wherever you find yourself today.

So listen with me to Leading the Way audio. Perched atop of a cliff in the beautiful country of Portugal, there is an ancient monastery. Researchers to that lofty retreat are rewarded with a magnificent view of the countryside once they get up there. There was a problem. The only way to reach that monastery is to be hoisted by an aged monk up a cliff in a wicker basket tied to a rope. And one day a guide and a visitor were sitting in this wicker basket, and as they were leaving the monastery, the basket, as it being lowered down the precipice by this aged monk, it swung over the rocky basin. The nervous visitor looked at the guide and in a trembling voice he said, sir, how often do you replace the rope? And the stone-faced guide looked at him and he said, each time the old rope breaks.

You can easily imagine the rate of the heartbeat of the visitor as he sat down in that swinging wicker basket. But you know the reality is that this is how most people live their lives. They push through life. They shove through life. They live a life of anxiety and fear. They live a life of tension. They are never sure whether the rope of life is going to make it or not.

I dare say that many Christians live the same way. They live a life of tension, a life of stress and when something goes wrong they say, why did God do this? Where is God when things go wrong in my life? How can a loving God not prevent this from happening?

Why is God silent when I need Him the most? You know I'm convinced that the difficulty for all of us is to be able to rest in God especially when you're sitting in the wicker basket of life. To be able to trust God even when the basket that you're sitting in swings wildly. To be confident that God does not wait for the rope to break before replacing it. To be at peace that even when your wicker basket hits the rocks, God is there. To be assured that God does not leave anything to chances. To really, really believe with the mind, with the heart and with the life that God uses big things, small things, uses everything in order to protect you. That He uses everything because God does not allow any of the details in your life to fall through the crack. To be able to see that God uses the great things as well as the small things to accomplish His purpose in your life. That's the challenge. In Acts 23 we see Paul in a Roman prison in Jerusalem.

I want to ask you a question. Do you think Paul at that time was thinking that God has forsaken him? Do you think he was discouraged? Do you think Paul at that moment was wondering why God is silent? Do you think Paul at this very moment was wondering if God is going to use him ever again? In fact I want to tell you that from the moment Paul was arrested in Acts 21 he had never became a free man again ever for the rest of his life.

And that's a period of about 5 years. But I'm convinced that God would not have condemned the apostle Paul had he had these thoughts of discouragement in his heart and mind. I'm convinced of that. Had Paul thought that God has been through with him, God would not have condemned him.

And I want to tell you something else. Those 5 years in Paul's life have been the most productive, the most influential 5 years of his life. Because in prison, yes, but you and I 2,000 years later are blessed by those epistles that were written in the prison. But instead of God condemning Paul for feeling discouraged, I want you to look at 2311 of the book of Acts and I want you to underline it in your Bibles. The Lord personally came and stood by Paul and he said to him, listen to those magnificent words, take courage Paul for as you have testified about me in Jerusalem so you must bear witness in Rome.

Beloved I want to tell you something. There are times in all of our lives, every one of us when we are tempted to misread and misunderstand the silence of God in our lives. There are days in our lives when we confuse the silence of God for lack of caring on his part. There are circumstances in life when we question the nearness of God to us. While in reality Acts 2311 should teach us that God is never closer to his children than when they cannot see him.

It teaches us that God is never nearer to his faithful son, to his faithful daughter than when they are unable to see him. You say how do you know that? How do you know that?

I'm going to tell you exactly how I know that. Because his word tells us that when Abraham was about to give up on the promises of God, God came to him and he says Abraham don't be afraid. Because God's word tells us that when Paul was discouraged and he was sitting there in the prison, God came to him and said to him take courage Paul.

And my friend listen to me, I want to tell you something that you must never forget. That this promise of God to Paul is for you today. If you're going through a hard time, if you're experiencing darkness in your life, if you are tempted to give up on God, if you are wondering whether your wicker basket is going to make it or not, if your rope is about to break, if you are wondering whether God has forgotten you, if you are wondering whether God had forsaken you, if you are wondering whether God has passed you by, I want to tell you his words to Paul are meant to be for you. His encouragement to Paul is his encouragement to you. His assurance to Paul is his assurance to you. His promise to Paul is his promise to you. His nearness to Paul is an evidence of his nearness to you.

Secondly, he's using even small things to accomplish his purpose and to protect you in your walk with him. When Paul was taken by the Roman soldiers and was put in that Roman prison for his own safety, for his own protection, there were a group of men in the city known as the zealots in Jerusalem and they were dedicated to take the law into their own hands and kill the apostle Paul. There were 40 of them. Now think about this. Forty are going to kill one man.

Forty. They took an oath that they will not eat, they will not drink, they will not rest until Paul is killed. Now the zealots of those days would be equivalent to the terrorists of our day.

They saw the Roman occupation as the highest insult to their national honor and pride. So they hatched this plot in secret to kill the apostle Paul. But the all-seeing God and the all-knowing God and the all-watching God was watching the plot. He was hearing what was going on and he did not intervene supernaturally. Do you think God could have swung his sword and killed all of them?

Sure. But he didn't. He could have intervened supernaturally. He didn't. He could have opened the prison door for Paul to walk out.

He didn't. But God allowed Paul's nephew to hear of the plot and gets the word to Paul and Paul sends him to the Roman captain and the plot is foiled. And it took 200 people to protect Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea. You know the other day I was speaking with one of our leaders over lunch and we were talking about how it would be mind-boggling for us to know how many plots a day that Satan hatches against God's children.

It would be mind-boggling. There is no telling of how many times a day Satan uses people to cause us havoc in our lives. There is no telling how many times a day Satan conspires to destroy the faithful servants of God. There is no telling how many times a day our very lives are threatened. There is no telling of how many ways and how many people that Satan would use to destroy us. There is no telling of how many traps of temptation that has been set to trap you and to trap me.

Only the watchful eye of our Heavenly Father would know how many. Oh, for the hand of God. Oh, but for the hand of providence. Oh, but for the sovereign mercy of God that foils Satan's plots again and again and again and again and again. Have you ever watched the news and saw somebody shot and said that could have been me?

Have you ever gone in an accident and you saw somebody was killed in a car accident? That could have been you. Have you ever thought about this every single day? And we just take it all for granted.

I said, you know, well, I just had a good day at work today, had a bad day at work today and got asleep. Listen to me, beloved friends, when you put on your spiritual eyes, you will recognize that there's an invisible curtain and behind that invisible curtain, there is an invisible world. There's an invisible war. And there are many, many demons, army of demons who are constantly plotting, constantly planning to destroy you and your family and your business. There are many, an army of demons who are forever conspiring together with the world system against you.

There is an army of demons conspiring all day long, even with your own flesh at times, they conspire in order to get you to fall into temptation. And then to cry to your heavenly father. And he sends mighty army of angels. He sends one of his children. He sends some unknown person to foil Satan's conspiracy against you and against your family and against your business.

And that happens time after time after time, day after day after day after day. Only in heaven, only in heaven, I'm convinced that we will truly know that thousands of times that the eyes of Providence kept us safe. Why? In order that God may give you another day to serve him. Only in heaven will we truly comprehend the power of the hand that protects us. Why? So that he may give us one more day to glorify his name. Only in heaven will we truly understand the mighty hand of God intervening on our behalf again and again and again in our lives. Why? So that he may give you one more day that you may be faithful in serving him. That is why I become so deeply concerned and troubled in my soul. When I see a person continue to live for self, when I see a person continues to ignore the voice of God, when I see a person continue to disregard the mercies of God, when I see a person continues to take God for granted, when I see a person only continue to pamper themselves and think of themselves, continue to presume on the goodness of God, continue to presume on the mercy of God, and continue to presume on the grace of God, I am so deeply troubled. Why?

Because Paul said ultimately if that attitude continues, God is going to take you home so that he may save your soul. A friend of mine sent me an email recently that went something like this. A basketball in my hand is worth $19. I did not know they were that expensive. But that same basketball in Michael Jordan's hand is worth over $30 million.

I mean, that really shocked me. Beloved friends, listen. You see, it all depends in whose hands it is. When I read this, I couldn't help but think about my beloved Lord and His incredible love and His incredible power and His incredible mercy. I couldn't help but think that a handful of dust in my hands that are beyond worthless, but in His hands they created Adam. A slingshot and five stones in my hand would be worth very little, but in David's hand and God's power brought victory to a nation. A jawbone of a donkey can be repulsive in my hand, but all in Samson's hands wiped out the Philistines. A staff in my hand might be worth a few dollars, but in Moses' hands it parked the Red Sea and saved a nation.

Paul's nephew is unnamed and unknown, but in God's hand he succeeded to save the apostle Paul. Thirdly, because God is the God of circumstances. God is the God of circumstances. You might be listening to us by radio and you're thinking to yourself that your circumstances are working against you. You might be thinking that if you were not at the wrong place at the wrong time, you would not have made a mess of your circumstances. Conversely, probably you're thinking that if you were at the right place at the right time, things may have worked out much better for you and you might be sitting there and wondering if the circumstances were different in your life. You could have been somebody. You could have done something great for God. You could have triumphed over the difficulties that you are facing right now. You could have and you could have and you could have and you could have. I want to tell you something.

I pray to God you'll never forget it if you have a pen and paper, write it down. If you are faithful, obedient child of God, let me repeat that. If you are faithful, obedient child of God, your circumstances do not operate outside and independently of God. Your God is in control of your circumstances. Your God is the master of the circumstances. Even when you know that you did some things to get yourself where you are, God's still the God of your circumstances and God uses your circumstances.

He's using them right now to weave his purpose in your life. Joseph was sold out of envy by his brothers and you say, why did God do that to an innocent man? God didn't do it.

He did permit it. Then he ended up as a slave in a foreign land and you would say, why did God do that to a godly man? God didn't do that, but he did permit it.

Joseph was falsely accused of the very sin that he refused to commit. How can God do that to an innocent man, to a righteous man? God did not do it, but he did permit it.

Joseph ended up in prison in a strange land. Why did God do that to a man of character? God did not do that, but God permitted.

The cup bearer goes out of the prison and he forgets about Joseph for two years. Why did God do that to a faithful man? God did not do that, but he did permit it.

God was using the circumstances in Joseph's life to make Joseph the second most powerful man in the world, so that he may save a nation, so that the Messiah may be born out of that nation, so that you and I be saved today. Insignificant circumstances, yes, to the world they are, but not to God. Not to God. Things that are happening in your life are so puzzling they don't make sense, not to God.

My friend, I want you to listen carefully. I cannot tell you what God is doing in your circumstances. I cannot see your future any more than I can see my future. I cannot predict or pretend to know how God weaves all the circumstances in your life, but I know this.

I know this. I know that God is doing something in your circumstances. And if you seem to be in darkness like Paul was, he's leading you. If you are discouraged and struggling hard like Paul was in that prison, I know that he's weaving his plan in your life.

If your circumstances appear to be puzzling like Joseph's were, I know that he's putting pieces of the puzzle together and the picture's not finished yet. Even if you are disappointed and angry with God, I know that he took all of that upon his body on the cross of Calvary. The question is, if you have never surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, if you are living your life to yourself, if you're living your life your way, if you're doing your thing, don't expect God to weave the circumstances into a beautiful tapestry.

He does that with his children. But today, you can come to the Lord and you can say, Lord, I've been living my life my way for too long. Today, I surrender to you and so that you would help me make sense of my circumstances. Encouragement for you from the life of the Apostle Paul on Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. Access an entire library of encouraging messages from Dr. Youssef when you click Listen at

You can also use the Leading the Way app or your smart home speaker. It's something to be reminded that when we think God is busy with someone or something else, he's actually very active behind the scenes in your life. And a note from Leading the Way radio listener emphasized this and encouraged our team. I come from a Christian background, but my husband is Middle Eastern and Muslim. When we married, I was not practicing my faith and we agreed not to talk about religion.

Now that we have a child, it's become a major issue. As a Muslim, my husband is starting to force our family into his faith. But the more he forces me to practice Islam, the more I'm driven to the truth found in Jesus. On the way home one day, I came across Leading the Way and it's been a blessing. I hear your passion for reaching Muslims with the truth. And I hope one day to reach my husband.

Please pray for us. Friends, you can extend the reach of Leading the Way when you call us 866-626-4356. That's 866-626-4356. And online, we're at, And you can write to us at Leading the Way, Post Office Box 201100, Atlanta, Georgia 30325. That's Post Office Box 201100, Atlanta, Georgia 30325. This program is furnished by Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. Connect with us through our YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, and all of our social media networks.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-14 01:30:44 / 2023-04-14 01:38:41 / 8

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